Monday, September 1, 2014

Recording & Assessing Student Performance

What is the biggest obstacle in musical performance assessment?
Recording student performances.
How to record? When to listen? Who listens? What to do with the recordings? How to use the recording for assessment?  With all those students? How does it help the ensemble?
The questions are so numerous that we often give up.

What if we could "attach" the performance directly to the assessment?

And allow students to self-reflect and set goals based on the data?
And allow parents to be part of the process?
And be able to archive it, creating a digital portfolio?
And be able to keep it over the course of many years?
And be able to collect the data and use it to identify areas of need for individuals and the group?
And be able to do it all for FREE?

This post is about to get pretty tech-y.  If that scares you, I apologize.

Here's the simple list of the tech tools we can use to make this work:
Kaizena - to record voice comments (student performance) and attach to a google doc
GClass Folders - to create folders in every student's Google Drive that are accessible by both the teacher and the student
Doctopus - to copy assessment forms into each student's Google account
Goobric - to score students and collect that data back into a single teacher spreadsheet
QR codes - to provide easy access to individual student folders

Two questions come up right away?
1.  Why not use Smart Music?  It's not free.
2.  Why not use Google Classroom?  Right now, Google classroom allows only one editor of a document at a time.  It is written so that the student and teacher alternate editing rights.  If we want student and teacher to collaborate, both teacher and student need editing rights concurrently.  I hope that becomes a feature of Classroom in the future.

Now, a little more in-depth about each tech tool.
Kaizena integrates with your Google Drive.  Once you connect Kaizena to your Google Drive (click red "New" button, choose "More" and "Connect More Apps", then search for Kaizena), you can open any document with Kaizena (right click on doc, choose "Open With" and then Kaizena) and record audio.  The audio is then saved as a Comment in the comment feed.  When you, the student, or the parent (if granted permission) opens the document, the recording will remain in the comment feed.  Re-recordings could be added.  Kaizena allows you to tag your audio comments and will send notifications of new comments.

GClass Folders is an add-on in Google Sheets that enables a teacher to install a folder into each student's Google Drive.  Actually, it adds three folders to every student's Google Drive, preset with the correct permissions.  One folder is for classwide viewing, one folder is for classwide editing, and the third folder (assignment folder) is individualized for each student, accessible only by the teacher and student.

Doctopus & Goobric are also add-ons in Google Sheets.  Once you have set up your student folders using GClass Folders above, use Doctopus to make "virtual copies" of your assessment document.  The assessment will be placed into each student's "assignment" folder.  Doctopus integrates with GClass Folders, even though they are separate add-ons.  Goobric, on the other hand, is part of Doctopus.  Goobric allows you to attach a rubric template to your assessment.  As you fill out the rubric, the data is collected into the teacher's spreadsheet.  From there, you can analyze the data for the entire class.

I previously did a blog post on Doctopus.  I am not making a screencast of how to use GClass Folders, Doctopus, or Goobric because it involves student names (no FERPA violations here), so I'll leave it to the experts to explain it better.

QR Codes are a great way for teachers and students to have fast access to anything.  But did you know you can have Google Sheets automatically create QR codes?  Put your URL (or any other content) in the first column of a spreadsheet, and in the second column, paste this formula:
If needed, be sure to change the "A2" at the end of the formula to whatever your reference cell is. The formula will be replaced with a QR code.  You can copy down the formula for as many rows as needed in your spreadsheet.  Print the QR codes and tape them to folders, binders, desks, bulletin boards, or wherever so that students can skip the steps of searching through their Google Drive for the correct folder.

OK - so the assessment workflow COULD be this:
Beginning of the year:
1.  Teacher creates assignment folder for each student with GClass folders (one time, update as needed).
2.  Create QR code links to each student's assignment folder and tape to choir folders.

Every time students will be assessed:
1.  Teacher uses Doctopus to copy assessment document into each student's folder.
2.  Teacher uses Goobric to associate rubric with assessment document.

During assessment:
1.  Student or teacher opens assessment document in Kaizena and records performance. (Depends if teacher is listening live or recorded.)
2.  Teacher assesses performance and assigns scores using Goobric.
3.  Student and teacher together set new goal for next assessment period.  The assessment document has a spot for reflection and goal setting.

After assessment:
Multiple options: Teacher can share assessment doc to parents, teacher can pull up assessment documents at conferences, teacher can use in class for analysis by other students (with permission), teacher can use class data from Goobric and present to the class to analyze.  There are many options!

It took a long time to work all this out, but not very long to set up.   The real breakthrough was Kaizena and the ability to connect performance with assessment.

This has been my Summer project.  My hope is to focus on individual students, and in turn, raise the level of the entire ensemble.  It also makes music assessment quantifiable, yet clearly standards-based.  And it is built entirely on solid curriculum.  This process could be used in other curricular areas as well.  If you would like more information, please contact me on Twitter or by leaving a comment below.  Thank you!

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